Visiting Chiang Mai Waterfalls Map and Guide
Looking to explore some of Thailand’s stunning waterfalls in a single day trip? Chiang Mai is the perfect destination! With so many falls to see, it’s hard to decide which one to visit first. But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of the best waterfalls in Chiang Mai. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or an adventure-packed day trip, Thailand Awaits has you covered!
- Visiting Chiang Mai Waterfalls Map and Guide
- Choosing the right waterfall adventure!
- How easy is it to reach Chiang Mai’s Waterfalls
- Huay Kaew Waterfall
- Nam Tok Bua Tong – Sticky Waterfall
- Mae Sa Waterfall
- Mae Ya Waterfall
- Mae Klang Waterfall
- Wachirathan Waterfall
Breathtaking waterfalls are just a stone’s throw away from the city centre and are easily accessible to any resident or tourist in the northern Thai mountains of Chiang Mai.
Choosing the right waterfall adventure!
Chiang Mai’s waterfalls combined with the amazing tourism infrastructure Chiang Mai city provides means that there is a waterfall excursion to cater to every individual based on their needs and level of adventure!
Some of Chiang Mai’s waterfalls may require a bit of a hike to get to, but others are just a short stroll from the car park. Some might require dodging through spiderwebs or swatting bugs and branches out of your face. While others you may find you have to wade through running rivers getting wet and muddy.
We feel each of Chiang Mai’s waterfalls is a majestic, fulfilling experience on its own and should be enjoyed with the ultimate reward of swimming in the cold water, jumping in, or simply taking some scenic photos!
How easy is it to reach Chiang Mai’s Waterfalls
Most of Chiang Mai’s waterfalls are hidden away, tucked into the mountains either near civilization such as Huay Kaew waterfall, or far outside the city limits such as the famous sticky waterfall to the east of Chiang Mai or those in Doi Inthanon National Park to the south.
Depending on your taste for adventure any of Chiang Mai’s sites can be reached by a guided songtaew (red truck), a bicycle, your own motorbike (which can be rented for ฿250-฿300 baht a day), rental car, or by simply hiking!
Chiang Mai Waterfall Map
We recommend going as a group or on a guided tour to any of Chiang Mai’s national parks, especially if you are traveling solo in Thailand.
There are several tours that include one or more of these waterfalls in their itineraries. The prices vary depending on the tour you pick.
If you are considering hiking while checking out these waterfalls, we recommend linking up with a group hiking tour as it is always safer a more enjoyable to experience these beautiful waterfalls with a group!
Trailhead Thailand has a Doi Inthanon tour that includes hiking high on the mountain, walking to a Karen Hill tribe village, and a swim in a natural mountain pool.
Keep in mind the season as Thailand’s rainy season can make any hike or waterfall potentially a treacherous adventure.
Huay Kaew Waterfall
We think the easiest and quickest waterfall to get to in Chiang Mai is the Huay Kaew waterfall. Located just to the west of the city near Chiang Mai University (CMU) at the base of Doi Suthep mountain, tucked up and behind the Chiang Mai Zoo.
This is a relatively unknown walk that can be passed easily at the beginning of the road heading up Doi Suthep National Park. You can hike up to it right after the zoo archway or you can follow the road a bit until the first tourist stop on the left-hand side. There, you will see the scenic beauty of this waterfall.
As a bonus find, if you walk up the hiking path you can go to the upper section of this Chiang Mai waterfall, there are several waterfalls above it in which you can jump from the cliffs or slide down the rocks into the swimming hole.
You can also access this waterfall by walking up the pilgrims’ trail, better known as the monk’s trail, on the way up to visit Wat Pha Lat. From there you can follow the road down and hike down, going the opposite direction. Be careful and make sure you jump into the centre of the waterfall!
Where: Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai – just past Chiang Mai Zoo
Entry fees: There is no fee to enjoy Huay Kaew Waterfall
Nam Tok Bua Tong – Sticky Waterfall
Each of the waterfalls in Chiang Mai is unique in its own way, but the Bua Tong waterfall is possibly the most unusual. Many consider it one of the best Chiang Mai waterfalls.
Better known as the sticky waterfalls, you will find it in Sri Lanna National Park, in the Mae Taeng district, just outside the northern plains.
This is one of the best known waterfalls in Chiang Mai, because of its unique characteristic of having the water source be rich in calcium. The calcium creates limestone deposits to form which keep algae at bay and allow amazing grip for walking up it, hence the term sticky waterfalls!
There are ropes in place to help you feel more comfortable as you walk down the waterfall.
To get to Bua Tong waterfall, you will need a motorbike or jump in a songthaew (red truck for tourist transportation). If you don’t have transport this tour which includes cycling and a boat ride is a great day out!
Where: 1.4km SE from the intersection of route 1001 & route 4046 Mae Ho Phra, Mae Taeng
Entry fees: There is no fee to enjoy the Bua Tong waterfall
Mae Sa Waterfall
Another one of Chiang Mai’s amazing waterfalls is the Mae Sa waterfall. Heading north from Chiang Mai city, this waterfall is on the famous Samoeng Loop road in Mae Rim district.
Heading towards Mon Jam Mountain, the sign for it will be just on the left as the road goes uphill on route 1096.
There is an entrance fee of ฿200 for a foreigner or ฿20 for a Thai national.
This waterfall is perfect for nature lovers. The water cascades gently down the multiple layers of the Mae Sa waterfall. There is a nicely laid out hiking path that follows the length of the falls, perfect for bird watching. Small pools of water in between the rocks, allow for a great biome of insects and wildlife.
Where: Soi Namtok Mae Sa 4, Mae Raem, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
Entry fees: ฿200 for foreigners and ฿50 for locals
Mae Ya Waterfall
Mae Ya waterfall in Doi Inthanon National Park, is a waterfall you will long remember. If you are a nature lover, then this place has it all! What makes these falls one of the great tourist attractions of the park is that this magnificent waterfall has a thirty-story cliff where water flows down over rocky steps.
We suggest going early to catch the cloudy mist coming off the mountain in the morning, which makes for phenomenal photos!
Where: East off route 1009 Ban Luang, Chom Thong
Entry fees: ฿200 for foreigners and ฿50 for locals
Mae Klang Waterfall
Mae Klang waterfall entry is on the road to Doi Inthanon National Park just before the official entry to the park. It’s another spot that offers a huge reward for little effort and is a brilliant choice for a lazy waterfront picnic.
It’s less than 500m walk up a small hill from the car park to the viewing platform at Mae Klang
Along the river at the base of the falls is a large car park and several food stalls where you can order your lunch and either dine in at their rustic tables or make your way to one of the picnic tables nearby.
On our recent September visit, it was far too wet for a picnic, but the falls were an impressive site indeed. These falls drop about 30 meters at the top and then continue to smaller falls or rapids as they make their way down to the bottom of the mountain, providing many spots to paddle your feet. There is water here year round, but after this year’s La Niña rains, they were powerful indeed.
Where: Off Route 1009 Ban Luang, Chom Thong
Entry fees: ฿200 for foreigners and ฿40 for locals
One of the most powerful waterfalls in Doi Inthanon National Park, Wachirathan Waterfall is only a minute’s walk from the car park and a short drive off the main road in the national park.
You can walk right up to the falls and feel the water spray on your face or take a path further downstream, where you can paddle your feet.
Those who have mobility problems can view the falls from an area near the car park. There is a cafe and some shops on-site if hunger strikes. If you don’t have transport, this tour includes a stop at this waterfall.
Where: Off Route 1009 Ban Luang, Chom Thong
Entry fees: You need to pay the Doi Inthanon National Park entry fee, which is ฿300 for foreigners and ฿30 for locals. The fee covers one day in the park.
Ready to explore Chiang Mai Waterfalls
Are you ready to explore all the waterfalls Chiang Mai offers? There are dozens more that aren’t listed here, but that’s half the fun, look on the map, ask your local guide, and set out to the tourist attractions! Pack your hiking boots, waterproof cases for your phones and cameras, and an adventurous attitude. Make sure to stop at a mini café or two along the way and grab some succulent sticky rice from locals!
Looking for guided tours to see some Chiang Mai Waterfalls?
- This tour will take you to Vachiratharn Waterfall
- This tour will take you to Sirithan Waterfall and Wachirathan Waterfall.
- This half-day tour will take you to the Sticky Waterfall
Need more waterfalls? Check out our guide to Phuket waterfalls or Koh Samui waterfalls if you are heading to southern Thailand.
About the author: Brian Hammel, originally from the suburbs of Boston now lives and works abroad, adventuring, discovering and writing. He has been based in Chiang Mai for 4 years and loves nothing more than jumping on his bike and exploring the less-known spots in Northern Thailand. On a day off work, you will usually find Brian jumping into waterfalls or finding a mountain to tackle.